Trump Sends National Guard to Southern Border in an Immigration Crackdown
In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, the White House informed reporters that President Donald Trump is planning to sign a proclamation to deploy National Guard forces on the United States border with Mexico. The decision came after a tirade of tweets by the President promising increased border security and condemning a recent uptick in illegal immigration.
Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made the announcement to the press, stating, “the President has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy the National Guard to our southwest border.”
In the past week, President Trump made a series of announcements and tweets that eventually led up to his decision of deploying the National Guard. On April 1, he announced, “border agents are not allowed to do their job” and that because of lax immigration laws, “NO MORE DACA DEAL.”
Later, in a meeting with numerous Baltic states on Tuesday, Mr. Trump declared his concern about a caravan of immigrants from Honduras making their way towards the United States border, and said, “until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military.”
The President’s decision to cancel making a deal on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a popular program that offered a path to citizenship for young immigrants, and once again pursue tougher immigration laws was to many a signal of his frustration at not receiving funding to build the border wall.
Kevin Appleby, a senior director at the Center for Migration Policies of New York, explained Mr. Trump’s thinking: “He cannot get funding for his wall, so instead he irresponsibly misuses our military to save face.”
Whatever the root cause of the President’s decision, it was clear by Wednesday night that the National Guard would be deployed on the Southern border.
This would not be the first instance of a U.S. president taking the extreme measure of sending the National Guard to the Mexican Border. The past two Presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, also deployed troops to assist in stopping illegal crossings, to little effect however.
From 2006 to 2008, President Bush stationed around 6,000 soldiers on the border, costing over 1.2 billion dollars, while only engaging in 11% of interceptions. Similarly, President Obama posted 1,200 troops from 2010 to 2012, racking up 110 million in expenses and only participating in 6% of captures.
Further information about the amount of troops and exact locations of their deployment has yet to be specified by the Trump Administration. However, the power that the National Guard has in border enforcement is limited, as they are not allowed to implement federal law unless delegated by an act of Congress or a Governor. This likely means that the Guard will be acting in a supporting role to border patrol providing technology, training, and expertise to help boost security.